The pediatric electrophysiology service at UCLA helps to diagnoses and treat children with abnormal heart rhythms. A variety of problems, including supraventricular tachycardias, conduction disturbances of the heart, and dangerous and life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias are all treated by an experienced and dedicated group of specialists. This specialized team performs all of the ablation therapy services for young children and adolescents and also offers their expertise in pacemaker and defibrillator placement. The two primary electrophysiologists, Kevin Shannon and Jeremy Moore perform these procedures and are assisted by the group's clinical nurse specialist, Lisa Knight. The team has performed an average of 130 procedures per year over the past 5 years, with a total of 128 invasive procedures most recently in 2010. The team also provides unique and state-of-the-art approaches to specific procedures in order to best serve their patients.
One such approach is the use of electroanatomical navigation systems for ablation therapy. This system allows the team to avoid the use of fluorosocopy (x-ray) during these procedures in children, who are inherently more susceptible to the adverse effects of radiation. With this strategy, fluorosocopy is avoided completely in about one-half of the group's procedures and is limited to just a few minutes in the remainder (typical procedures often require up to 30 minutes of exposure without this technology).
Another unique aspect of the UCLA service is their approach to pacemaker placement in children. The team, along with a handful of other U.S. centers, has developed a strategy for axillary implantation in children. This allows the surgical incision to be placed within the axilla (arm-pit area), effectively hiding the scar from visualization after the procedure. The electrophysiology service is aware of the occasional stigmata associated with heart disease surgery in children and has thus found this to be an especially useful adjunct to the typical implantation approach, significantly improving patient satisfaction.
Finally, the team is involved in several multicenter trials to expand treatment options for arrhythmias in children. This gives these researchers the ability to provide unique therapies for patients with certain congenital arrhythmia syndromes that may result in life-threatening problems. The electrophysiology service at UCLA remains on the forefront of these treatment modalities and procedural approaches, providing superb and unique service to their patients.
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